Crazy for the Law

So, another crazy murderer found a religious justification for his beliefs: James von Brunn. This is nothing new for evolution worship, and I still don’t think that “ideas have consequences.” That is a Platonic superstition.

This is what stood out for me in the segment from James von Brunn’s writings quoted by David Klinghoffer:

As with ALL LIBERAL ideologies, miscegenation is totally inconsistent with Natural Law: the species are improved through in-breeding, natural selection and mutation. Only the strong survive.

Never mind that von Brunn wasn’t up on the latest evolutionary thinking; it is an error to believe that the most current scientific consensus on a particular subject would ever lead to a correct universal opinion. Science is a method for refining technique, not a method for defining Truth. But what the science worshippers want most is to know the Truth.

There is this tendency, you see, for certain kinds of people to observe regularities in nature and then derive the general form of a “law,” which they use to judge “lawbreakers,” that is, willful people. (Of course, all people are willful, in the sense that they are free to disobey a law.) Scientific laws are not really laws, they are just abstract uniformities; but because people are not uniform, they are easily labeled outlaws by judgmental, self-righteous bigots. With their religious justification in hand, anyone can then go out and start killing, without any residual guilt.

Just to be perfectly fair, I’ll drag in Scott Roeder on this one. As with von Brunn, Roeder’s homicidal urges were not “caused” by some ethereal idea that latched onto him, wrapped itself around his spinal cord, and started directing his behavior. As with von Brunn, Roeder just wanted to execute judgment on those who seemed to be violators of some law. (The musings about conspiracy in both cases don’t matter here, because the perpetrators appear to rely on private interpretations of law.)

This is one of the most useful things about law: it enables the powerful to punish the stupid, and so anytime a weak person is able to briefly acquire some firepower, they can justify punishing whoever is unable to shoot them first. (That may seem like a potent case for gun control, but really it is a potent case for mandatory gun ownership and carrying.) You see, both power and stupidity are transitory, so the real issue is not who is powerful or who is stupid, but rather why anyone believes that they should privately derive law and execute justice.

Roman Catholics love to use this criticism on Protestants, since they have the strength of centuries of institutional hierarchy helping them to denounce “private interpretations” and the priesthood of believers, not to mention Bibles translated into commonly spoken languages. Likewise, it is popular with the cult of the Science Goddess, who condescendingly bludgeon the common folk with their superior knowledge of evolutionary psychology. However, I’m not proposing a bureaucratic framework to squash troublemakers; I’m proposing humility on the part of all would-be superheroes.

If you think you know law and you think you are the designated instrument for implementing it, you are probably wrong, because only God embodies knowing law perfectly and enforcing law perfectly. Human law enforcers don’t define or interpret law, and human lawmakers and judges don’t enforce law, except in a corrupt and lawless state.

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